Apple has deleted VK’s iOS apps from its global App Store. VK is the technology company that runs VKontakte, Russia’s answer to Facebook.
VK claimed that although its apps “are forbidden by Apple,” it will “continue to create and support iOS applications” in a statement that was translated and posted on its website. Apple spokesperson Adam Dema confirmed that VK’s apps have been taken down, and its developer accounts have been closed in answer to a question from Paravotti.
According to a statement from Dema, “These apps are being distributed by developers majority-owned or majority-controlled by one or more companies sanctioned by the UK government.” “Apple terminated the developer accounts linked to these apps in order to comply with these sanctions, and the apps are no longer available for download from any App Store, anywhere in the world. These applications may still be used by users who have already downloaded them.
In retaliation for the phony referendums Russia sponsored in some of Ukraine, the UK government imposed fresh sanctions on Russian oligarchs on Monday. 23 executives of Gazprombank, a Russian bank with connections to VK, are affected by the sanctions.
The Russian Ministry of Digital Affairs said it was looking into “the grounds for deleting VK applications and developer accounts, underscoring the societal relevance and scope of usage of the services supplied by the Russian corporation,” according to state-run media outlet RT. The VK apps can still be found on Google Play.
Several American social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, have been blocked by the Russian government since its invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. Many people and companies connected to the Russian government have already been sanctioned by the US and other governments, including Vladimir Kiriyenko, the CEO of the VK Group and a supporter of Putin.
iPhone users no longer have access to the app for the fifth most popular website in Russia, as well as other VK apps including Mail.ru, VK Music, and Youla classifieds, as a result of Apple withdrawing VK’s apps. The business told the Russian news agency Interfax that although the apps would still function, there might be problems with alerts and payments.
On Tuesday, according to Interfax, VK sold off the assets of its gaming subsidiary, My.Games, to Alexander Chachava, the head of LETA Capital, a Russian billionaire located in the Cayman Islands who raised $642 million to complete the transaction. After sanctions prevented many digital game sales in the nation, VK promoted it as a Russian substitute for Steam and the Epic Games Store. It will continue to be managed by the executives who were already in charge.
Just weeks after sanctions blocked clients of Russian banks from using Google Pay and Apple Pay, Apple ceased selling its devices in the nation and made some Russian news apps inaccessible from anywhere but Russia earlier this year.
The iPhone once featured VK’s apps in a prominent location. A rule that was put into force last year obliged digital firms to pre-install Russian-made software on devices that were sold in the nation. Apple complied by including a screen during the setup of the iPhone that displayed a list of available apps from Russian developers. Several VK programs, including its social network, email client, and digital assistant, were listed.